Archives For redemption

I love that kind of music – kind of a smooth jazz. Don’t let this be well known, but I also kinda like Sinatra, Harry Connick Jr., Michael Buble, and others. Not as much as I like Def Leppard, but sometimes you’re just in the mood.

I like this particular song by Dean Martin because it talks about getting kicked in the head. Which is funny to me for some reason.

“How lucky can one guy be? I kissed her and she kissed me. Like the fella once said, ‘Ain’t that a kick in the head?’”

Why would a kiss be compared to a kick in the head? Well, have you ever kissed someone? Remember your first kiss, or a kiss with that special someone? Yes, I just said that. It’s electric, it gets your heart racing, your mind goes numb, your body tenses up. Like if you were to get kicked in the head.

I only mention that because Cheryl busted her head real good last night. We had to go to the doctor because of it. She bent over real quick, right into the door frame, which has a huge dent in it now. I heard the sound, saw her legs get rubbery, saw her collapse. I mean, she hit it hard. She was almost completely out when I got to her. Nothing like a kick in the head – her eyes were glazed over, she was dazed, her heart was racing.

Have you ever hit your head like that? It’s a surreal experience. Out of body, metaphysical, electric. Spiritual.

Have you ever had an encounter like that with God? Have you ever had the Spirit come over you, out of the blue, and just flat out kick you in the head? Metaphorically speaking obviously. God doesn’t kick people in the head. But sometimes he kinda does. Right?

I’m thinking about myself – how hard headed I am, and the lengths God went to to not just redeem me, but to get my attention. Sometimes it’s a gentle voice, like a spring breeze. Mostly if he wants my attention it’s a bone jarring experience and we pick up the pieces together and move on.

I’m also thinking about Israel. How many times in the bible were they walking with God, turned their back on him, got overrun by the Philistines or whoever then remembered how things were before they went their own way?

We all do this. Unfortunately. It’s normal. We are so blessed, we praise God, we worship him, we get all caught up in our lives, we get to a point where our worship is just songs, our prayers are just words, and our power is our own. Then something happens and we run back to God.

That’s not the way it’s supposed to be – you know that right? We are supposed to walk with God daily, we are supposed to be empowered by the Spirit daily, we are supposed to always be in a mindset of worship and prayer – continually. That’s the trick right there.

I think we all deserve a good kick to the head from time to time – it sets us straight, it reminds us what’s real, it reminds us who paid the price for us. Ideally, it would just happen once, but then again we’re human and we all need a course correction from time to time.

If you’re one of those that recognizes immediately when something is wrong and immediately correct it, good on you. Me? I’ll probably continue to need a good swift kick every now and then.

Pray for me, and with me – God is working in my life right now! He’s shaking things up, making me see the reality around me. Cheryl’s head wound reminded me that God has a plan for me, he’s not done, I’m not used up, too old, too broken – not ever – God still has a plan. I just wish it was my head that got hit - it can take a lot more abuse that Cheryl’s.

water balloon

My daughter Trinity just got back from Crazy MixUp Camp 2012. Looks like she had a great time! This was her first camp experience, except for those years when I was a Youth pastor – I think she was 6 months old, 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 during those years, so I’m sure she doesn’t remember.

I saw a pic or two that the camp posted on their Facebook page. Seriously – I’ve said this for years – the thing I miss most about ministry is summer camp! I never missed a year between 1979 and 2003.

Trinity came home with all kinds of ideas for games that we all had to experience as a family. As a former rec guy, I saw a spark in her – creativity, fun, organization skills. It all kinda falls apart when you take a game built for 500 and try it with a family of 4 though. Still, we had a great time tonight just playing!

The culmination though was when Trinity nailed me in the head with a water balloon. She threw, I dodged, it was a fake, she really threw and it got me good – one of the only ones tonight that actually popped on contact. The look on her face was priceless, then I pretended like I was mad and about to throw her over the back fence – even more family fun!

While Trinity was at camp, I went into her room every night and prayed for her – just like I have every night since the day she was born. She wasn’t in her room, obviously, but I still prayed – that God would speak to her, that the Holy Spirit would teach her, that Jesus would walk beside her. I know people always think great things about their kids – but Trinity is very special. God shows her things, she speaks the things she is shown, and they come to life.

I don’t know what God is going to do with my little girl, but I pray it’s big things! I pray that she won’t be weighed down by worldly things. I pray that her sense of curiosity is never satisfied. I pray that God would inhabit her praises and that no matter what, she will walk with him her whole life.

My Grandmother used to pray for those things for me. Looking back, it was just around the time she died that I lost my way. I know she prayed for me daily, and I prayed for her, too. She was an exceptional woman – loving, kind, gracious, forgiving. Even when I was the opposite, she still loved me, and in that she showed me that God still loved me, too.

While Trinity was away at camp, I had the opportunity to go to a special service at my church called Habitation. Many people have been healed physically and spiritually during this time, many people have heard powerful words from God.

When we got to the church last night, I immediately felt tension – like I was being pulled apart on the inside. I went into the worship center and there were already close to 1000 people there – and I was an hour early! They do a prayer service right before Habitation, and all during that portion more and more people poured in. By the time the actual service started, the place was full! They had printed 1500 handouts and were not even close to having enough. I mean the place was full! At least 3000 people, all with one thing in mind – growing closer to God!

Back to my feeling of tension – All of a sudden I didn’t want to be there. People talked to me and I was grouchy. I was really being attacked I think – and I generally don’t think that way to be honest. I wanted to go home. I wanted to watch reruns of House. Anything except for be at church.

They prayed, they sang, people testified, and then I knew what it was – the whole night was revolving around gratitude – to God for the wonderful things he has done and for the things he has given us. And it dawned on me that I am so ungrateful!

My expecation was that God would provide, that I would be successful, that if I did what he wanted, nothing would ever stand in my way. And when it didn’t happen the way I wanted I shut God out – I stopped praising because the blessings stopped coming. Or maybe it was the other way around, now that I have some perspective.

I stopped praising because I got full of myself. I stopped praising because I was in charge of my life. I stopped praising because I became my own god. And when I put myself on the throne, God stopped blessing. Oh, he still loved me, he still gave me a good job, he still gave me life and breath. But the rest was all me and under my reign it all fell to pieces.

I was reminded last night that every good thing comes from God and that there is so much good in my life, so much to be grateful for! My beautiful wife Cheryl, my beautiful daughters Trinity and Zoey, my house, my job, my truck – and beyond that, my health, the health of my family, that God loves me in spite of me being me, that he loved me enough to forgive me, that he called me to do great things!

I often wonder if it’s too late – if I’m too old, if anyone even cares – then I remember that it’s not about who cares or my age or how much I have failed in the past. It’s about my willingness to praise God and show him that I am thankful for the little things. When I can praise him, from deep within, when I can meet with him, spirit to Spirit – that’s like getting busted in the head with a water balloon! It comes out of nowhere and changes your perspective on everything! When God invades your space, there’s no telling what might happen – he might even renew your calling, let you know you’re not a has been, you’re not too old or too broken – he might just give you hope!

I was never any good at the maths. And you can ask anybody, I never even cared. My last good math was in 3rd grade, because in 4th we started all the junk with the fractions and decimals and all that. So, I did what I had to do to pass, which was cheat. Yep. I’ll admit that I cheated my way through math.

In college, math was required. I got out of it. All I had to do to get out of one semester of math was take four semesters of Greek. Not a problem. I’m a language/word nerd.

Nowadays, I’m a claims adjuster. Guess what? I have to use all that math I never learned every three seconds. I still kinda stink at it, but at least I can soothe people when there’s no coverage for their homeowner claim.

Who made up all that math stuff? Pythagoras? Nope it was already being done by the Babylonians 2500 years before he was born. See, I love the history, too.

God made it up. He set the universe in motion, with the physical laws that apply. Things that he created have weight and volume and dimensions. It was God who made it, and we who have tried to figure it all out.

Believe it or not, I love physics. About 1/3 of my library is books on physics. I understand the concepts, the philosophical ramifications of some of it – example – the universe, on a massive scale, is pretty orderly, and we can observe motion and make predictions, but on the very small scale, all bets are off.

Quantum physics is pretty dark and twisty stuff. There are particles within particles and they really shouldn’t interact but they do. Sometimes a part will spin in a circle and be back to it’s original starting position, sometimes it will spin and spin and spin like 8 times before it’s back to it’s starting point.

There are weird names for stuff, too. Quarks, muons, gluons, and each one has different varieties. There are six different ”flavors” of quarks.  Light is both a wave and a particle. Weird, right?

So why I am boring you with all this? Do you see how big God is? And yet how small? What I mean is, there are things so big we can’t see them – we don’t know how far out the universe goes. Once we think we’ve seen all there is to see, they make a bigger telescope. 100′s of billions of galaxies in the observable universe. And how small can we go? We think we know, then we make a new particle accelerator and all bets are off again.

My thinking is, it just goes on and on and on in both directions. God made it and he sustains it all, both big and small. And he still has time to have a relationship with you!

Why did God do all of this? Because that’s who he is! He is loving, creative, powerful. When you mix those together, you get everything. And yet he is above it, outside of it all. He’s bigger than his creation.

But, since the time of Adam and Eve, it’s all been slightly off kilter. What’s the second law of thermodynamics? Anyone? Entropy increases. That means, what started off as perfect is all going to fall apart some day. It’s why your batteries die, why things wear out, why when you drop a glass onto the kitchen floor you’re still stepping on the pieces 2 weeks later. Disorder increases. Until it is acted upon by an outside force. That’s a new law I just made up. The law of redemption. Ok, I didn’t make it up. It’s always been there.

From Adam’s first sin, to whatever you just did that you thought, “Crap that was not the right thing to do,” God has been breaking all the rules so that you could be who he made you to be. He doesn’t owe you this, but out of his love, out of his creativity, out of his power, he made a way to save us. I say breaking the rules but I know there are rules we don’t know about and could never understand anyway.

Who thought it up that something had to give up it’s life and it’s blood to redeem us and save us? Is that crazy or what? What kinda math is that? That a blameless, spotless, sinless, innocent person had to give up his place in heaven and come here to this messed up planet and lay it all down for messed up people like us.

There was no other way. Just like the fundamental laws of the universe that apply to our physical existence, the spiritual law is that when the law is broken the penalty is death. But Jesus is big enough to take that all upon himself. He took our sentence of death and died once for all, and now the law that held us back has been fulfilled! We are no longer viewed by God as rule breakers and sinners. We are seen by God through the filter of the blood of Jesus.

And now, we are living in the kingdom, just like God intended. This world will still pass away, and everything physical and temporal along with it. These bodies that we call home will be shed in death. But we will live on! This is the best news I have ever heard – that the God of the universe loved me enough to die for me! Jesus lives, and because he lives, I know I will live with him forever!

Don’t even try to figure it all out – physics or God. Some things we just need to accept. Start by accepting Christ, and everything else will begin to make more sense.